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Can a Kennedy Save Democracy?
RFK Jr is running for president, on a platform that doesn't quite fit with his party. Is his long shot a pipedream?
Following through on the promise he made at the end of last week’s Twitter Space with Ron DeSantis, Elon Musk held another town hall with yet another presidential candidate today, in the form of a Twitter space. But this time, instead of GOP Front runner, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, this time the special host was a dark horse candidate, with long-shot dreams and a family legacy overshadowing his own contributions to the political landscape.
After finally getting started about 15 minutes late, the Town Hall lasted over 2 hours and peaked at a little over 60k concurrent listeners. Like always, for anything I cover, the unedited, untrimmed, and uncut full feature-length town hall is available on my youtube channel, where we streamed it live to preserve it for posterity. I encourage everyone to give it a listen, when you have the time, and come to conclusions on our own, but I will also provide my commentary here.
Part 1: Simping for Elon
The Twitter space kicked off after introductions, giving Elon and Kennedy a chance to introduce themselves and just have a conversation about, well about themselves. RFK seized on the opportunity to not introduce himself, or his campaign, or to inform the listener what his views and policies were, but to tell Elon how much he admired him, and how much he admired the work Elon has done combatting censorship.
What was presented as an opportunity for a long-shot candidate to use a platform capable of reaching millions in order to boost his profile, and promote his campaign, was instead turned into a chance for that candidate to interview Elon Musk as if he was a guest on the RFK Jr Podcast. Kennedy referred to Twitter as “The Last Battleground” and remarked on Elon’s takeover as “A breath of fresh air for our country!”
When finally prodded to proselytize on some viewpoints of his own, rather than fawning over Elon’s immigrant story, Kennedy wove a dark, yet understated tale of tyranny corrupting the values of democracy. He waxed poetically about the not-so-quiet collaboration between governments and corporations to strangle free will from the remnants of democracy. He spoke of the mainstream corporate media, acting as an agent and an arm of the state to enforce censorship of ideas deemed dangerous to the status quo. He spoke of his own ban from Instagram, and the removal of anyone affiliated with his organization from META platforms. And when getting the opportunity to beg for answers from Elon, Kennedy betrayed that he fears a future where AI disruption will bring economic hardship to the American people, and how he worries that self-driving cars will put Uber drivers out of business and that the government should regulate the industry to prevent it.
But for all of the substance of what he had to say, there was a lingering pain invoked trying to listen to it. Kennedy’s voice, crippled by a medical condition known as spasmodic dysphonia, which creates involuntary spasms in his voice box, has been left sounding unsure, unsteady, pained, and graveled over. It is obvious, though no fault of his own and does not reflect upon his intelligence or leadership abilities, that the immutable characteristic of one’s voice is an incredibly important piece of presentation on an audio-only platform such as Twitter spaces. I was left with an impression of weakness, and unsteady pain, invoking feelings of sympathy as opposed to reflections of strength and vitality.
Part 2: Meet the Panel
A panel of Journalists, activists, politicians, and the like, joined the space to ask a series of questions that felt mildly scripted, if not at least pre-screened. In most of cases, the person asking the question took the opportunity to bloviate and make a case for their expertise ninth e area of the question before presenting it, and in most cases, Kennedy answered, in a long-winded manner that felt reminiscent of an American foreign intervention.
The first question went to Journalist and activist Micheal Shellenberger, who spoke on the issues of transparency in government and private business, especially when it comes to the actions of private censorship and the rationale behind silencing political opposition. He asked Kennedy if he would support a mandated requirement by government officials and social media platforms to engage in the transparent release of information regarding censorship decisions. Kennedy gave solemn agreement while avoiding using the word mandate, or mandatory, in his proposed executive action. But he did bring up the notion of treating social media companies as common carriers such as utilities, and classifying them as such to bring them under government regulatory control. “These institutions are now the public square” he opined before concluding his remarks on the subject.
Mr. Malik wasted no time getting to the bottom of his inquiry, borders, and immigrants. And long story short, Kennedy agreed with the need to close our borders and halt immigration into the US, bucking the traditional party line of his Democratic labeling. “Having Millions of people flowing across the border is not something that any country should or a put up with” he remarked as he advocated for closing the borders and cutting off new immigration.
Tulsi Gabbard opened with tales of the Democrats of her youth, who cared about the little guy, who was welcoming of all, and protectors of civil liberties. She talks about how today’s democrats are no better than shills for the corporate establishment, and whose party leaders are focused on dividing people using identity politics, and weaponizing the national security apparatus to target political opponents. She asks Kennedy his opinion on the push to decouple the Chinese and American economies, likening it to ripping apart the conjoined twins at the hip and letting them both bleed out. Kennedy responds with a call for open negotiation, and harsh competition with China, whilst striving to bring a resurgence to domestic manufacturing in the United States.
Straight to the point with no additional fluff after the earlier conversation, Elon asks “What are your views on Nuclear Power?” Kennedy avoids a committed answer, saying he supports the idea of nuclear if it can be made safe and economical, and makes a bold claim in ignorance that right now it is neither. He is at least self-aware of his audience to say he doesn’t want to pick a fight with Shellenberger, an outspoken proponent of the safety of nuclear power but then proceeds to recite talking points that Shellenberger, Musk, and others have spent the past decade thoroughly refuting. Fortunately, Elon and Shellenberger did not shy from providing pushback instead of allowing Kennedy to spew his propaganda without resistance.
The candidate’s Hollywood trophy wife was dragged onto the stage to answer a simple question about how she feels regarding her husband’s run for president, and what her Hollywood friends think. She plays the role of a supportive wife as naturally as any other. She is deliberate in her answers, avoiding mentions of their political disagreements, especially their vocal public disagreements regarding vaccines, and the instance where she required guests to be vaccinated to attend their holiday party even though her husband was a prolific and famous ant-vax activist. She plays up the aspects of having fun, and supporting Bobby in a role he “was born to play”
Twitter user and Bitcoiner Balaji gave a brief presentation about the fall of the US treasury bond, and the corruption of US Monetary policy, before finishing his flowery monologue with a question asking Kennedy if he would support an evaluation and audit of the federal reserves treasury bonds. Kennedy, responded with a joke of his own, just offering Balaji the US Treasury secretary job. He picked up from the laughs by talking about the history of sound money, and how the US economy was strongest when money was backed by metal.
Professional Surfer and Social Media Influencer Kelly Slater chimed in to talk about how refreshing it was to have a candidate that would speak truth to power so honestly. He asks Kennedy the hardest question so far, about how he plans to challenge the narrative of mainstream media that he is a fringe long-shot candidate not worth paying attention to, and how he can expand his audience to the people who need to hear it. Among other things, Kennedy says he’ll play ball with whatever the media needs of him to treat him “fairly” including not talking about vaccines anymore unless they ask him.
Questions from Twitter!
David Sack picked 2 questions from the sea of Twitter to pose to Kennedy, and he was at least decent enough to answer both.
The first question came from Twitter User @Realpatking who asked “I need to know your detailed stance and policy on the Second Amendment before you get my vote. That's likely the only thing holding me back from voting for you.” Kennedy claims to be a constitutional absolutist and assures the crowd he doesn’t want to take away guns. But he also goes on a long-winded and unscripted rant about the prevalence of psych meds, and how he wants to do whatever it takes to stop school shootings.
Twitter user @TannerT22 got the second crack at a question, asking “Is your energy policy going to continue destroying our landscapes with the seas of solar panels and windmills?” To assure us that they were taking nonsense questions seriously, Kennedy gave a serious answer, devoting an unnecessary amount of time to the economic benefits of subsidized renewable energy, and the intolerable deaths of wildlife and whales due to offshore wind energy.
The Wrap Up
I can’t say I learned anything or took away anything new and spectacular from the event, and to be honest, it’s 2 hours of my life I wish had been spent more productively in hindsight. Kennedy strikes me as a populist, someone desperate for relevancy, with just enough principles to keep himself from gaining traction with a populist base.
Come next year, at the conclusion of the primaries and the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden will likely once again be the nominee, and Bobby Kennedy will have wasted a lot of time and money on a pursuit that everyone knew was doomed to fail. I’d be willing to bet money on the outcome, but I feel that anyone being otherwise would be making a suckers bet to lose.
Well, thanks for sticking it out for this review, or listening to the full 2.5 hours yourself, and congrats on being more informed than your average voter.
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